The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (osce) led Minsk Group – the principal mediator tasked with the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, is often criticised by Azerbaijan, due to the stalemate in negotiations. The intensive period of engagement between 2006 and 2009 brought first the initial and then the “updated” Madrid Principles. This was the chief working document that set forth the basic principles for peaceful resolution. The inactivity of the Minsk Group is often conceded as the result of maintaining “minimalist goals” – preventing full scale war and trying to bring conflict parties to the negotiating table. The April war in 2016 tested the fragility of the first goal: preventing skirmishes from leading to larger scale conflict. Similarly, after the April 2016 war, the attempt to revitalise the second goal – i.e. bringing the parties to the negotiating table – also collapsed, due to the increased mistrust between the parties after the war.
The article will evaluate the geopolitical changes and their impact on the Minsk Group’s work since 2008, the reasons for the demands to change the format of the Minsk Group, and finally Azerbaijan’s perspectives on the limitations of the Minsk Group’s current mandate and mechanisms.